Volunteering is a topic we would often like to avoid. It is a sticky subject and usually makes us feel guilty or obligated. When we think of volunteering we think of jobs that need to be done, jobs we won’t get paid for or jobs no one else wants to do. If you are a leader of volunteers you think of open slots needed to be filled and tasks needed to be performed. Volunteering can be a tough sell because let’s face it, we all have plenty to do and we like getting paid.
Having been a volunteer myself and now leading volunteers in our church, I am starting to think we are all going about this the wrong way. A lot of the jobs in our church, like most churches, are done by volunteers. We try to appeal to people by asking them to take responsibility and fulfill the needed role. What I think we often forget is the profound impact these roles can have not only on the people at the receiving end, but the people who are performing them.
Volunteering is pursuing your own passion and being able to share that joy with others. It is choosing to do something because you love it, not because it is going to pay well. Volunteering is recognizing the important role you play in other’s lives and understanding the positive impact you can make. It is growing and stretching in ways you thought impossible. Volunteering is recognizing your gifts and not wanting to keep them to yourself.
Paul says in first Corinthians that a spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. He goes on to say that God himself decides what gift we each get and he does this with a purpose. “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. …and God has put each part just where he wants it.” This whole body he speaks of is the body of Christ. We are the parts that now make up this body.
God understands our desire to belong and be valued. He knows that we want to be part of a whole that can accomplish what we can’t do alone. I believe he gave us these desires and abilities not only to serve and love each other, but to grow ourselves. He knows that when we look outside ourselves we often finally find what we have been looking for. We are seeing what others need and how God gave us the ability to provide for them. When we serve others, people see Jesus living and loving through us. This is the point.
So instead of just filling a spot, I encourage you to find your gift and ask God how you can use it to serve and touch others. I urge you to volunteer where you are passionate and excited. God has purposed this for you because our biggest obstacle is often selfishness. But through volunteering to serve others, God rewards you with growth and satisfaction. He rewards you with knowing you have a purpose outside of the mundane. God rewards you for taking your place in the body of Christ by revealing to you that you are fulfilling the purpose for which he created you.